Time finally on United’s side in safety bid

FA CUP 3rd Round 'Sheffield United vs Aston Villa '''Utd's   Micky Adams
FA CUP 3rd Round 'Sheffield United vs Aston Villa '''Utd's Micky Adams
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THE games have come thick and fast since Micky Adams completed his emotional return to Bramall Lane.

But with Sheffield United set to enjoy a welcome break from the rigours of Championship competition, the 49-year-old aims to use the time between now and next Tuesday’s visit of Leicester City to apply the finishing touches to his survival blueprint.

Ensuring that new signing Marcus Bent, captured on a long-term loan from Birmingham City, is fully fit features among his list of priorities.

“Marcus did well,” Adams, speaking after watching the striker complete 60 minutes of the 2-1 defeat by Norwich, said. “But he’s not played much lately and so it was inevitable that he tired.

“We’ll be able to do plenty of work with him now so, by the time we go out there again, he should be ready to do the 90. That’s the aim anyway.”

Bent, who made nearly 50 appearances for United earlier in his career, demonstrated he is capable of forging an effective partnership with fellow striker Ched Evans and Adams added: “There’s a bit of breathing space now and that should give us a bit of time to get people used to working together. That should help us progress towards getting much tighter as a unit.

“The more time the lads spend together, the more times they train together then the stronger they should become. That’s what we’ll be working towards.”

Adams, a lifelong United supporter and former member of its youth-team squad, is still searching for his first win since being appointed as permanent successor to Gary Speed. Having lost his first match in charge – a 4-2 defeat at Burnley – draws with Doncaster Rovers and Coventry followed before Aston Villa ended United’s FA Cup hopes at the third-round stage, and two goals from Andrew Crofts settled last weekend’s controversial contest in favour of Paul Lambert’s side.

Given his background, Adams has made an emotional as well as professional investment in the campaign to restore United’s fortunes.

“The one thing people are going to get from me is strong leadership,” he said. “I’m not going to crumble or get carried away how ever things are going.

“Of course it’s hard work. It always is when you take over a club in this position.

“But I’m very encouraged by the attitude the lads are showing. How they’ve worked both on an off the pitch.

“They’ve shown commitment and look like they are ready to fight which is what we’re going to need. That’s not the only thing, but they’ve proved they are ready to put their bodies on the line.

“It’s the right spirit to have.”

“Of course there are things that we can do better,” Adams added. “There always are.

“We’ll be putting in a lot of hard work on the training pitch to make sure the organisation is right, to make sure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.”